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Efficacy of Cardiac Rehabilitation Services: With Emphasis on Patients After Myocardial Infarction

Philip Greenland, MD; and Joyce S. Chu, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Requests for Reprints: Philip Greenland, MD, Box 679, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Greenland: Box 679, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642.

Dr. Chu: 10 Rustic Road, Branford, CT 06405.


Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(8):650-663. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-109-8-650
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During the 1970s, emphasis increased in clinical practice on early ambulation and exercise-based rehabilitation after myocardial infarction and other cardiac illnesses or procedures. This shift was based on the belief that exercise and improved conditioning would improve prognosis. We examine the evidence supporting this assertion. Most of the reports on cardiac rehabilitation are about patients who have coronary artery disease and a history of myocardial infarction. The review, therefore, is focused primarily on the patient who has had a myocardial infarction. Effects of cardiac rehabilitation, emphasizing exercise treatment and conditioning, are reviewed with regard to patient outcomes, including changes in functional (work) capacity, psychosocial functioning and health-related knowledge, risk factor modification, morbidity and mortality, and cardiac function. The safety of cardiac exercise programs is reviewed, and the use of telemetry monitoring is considered. We also discuss the role of cardiac rehabilitation in categories of patients other than those with myocardial infarction and the application of newer approaches to rehabilitation such as programs based in the patient's home.

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